Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GCBC - Elder Christofferson

General Conference Book Club
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
"The Divine Gift of Repentance"

Here are a couple of the quotes that "spoke to me" as I read this talk by Elder Christofferson (which can be found here.)

"In reality the prophetic call [to repentance] should be received with joy. Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. . . Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace."

I love this idea that repentance should be a joyful part of our lives. And I appreciate the reminder that peace comes from being obedient, which necessitates repentance.

"Repentance means striving to change. It would mock the Savior's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts."

The phrase that stood out to me in my regular scripture reading this morning was from Mosiah 27:5 - "Doing these things [laboring for their own support], they did abound in the grace of God." If we are to expect the grace of God, which means his aid and help, we need to work and do our part. That's what repentance entails. And, look, there in verse 6 we get the results again - "There began to be much peace again in the land." Repentance (obedience) brings peace, and that's my wish for you this Christmas season.

GCBC - Elder Curtis

General Conference Book Club
Elder LeGrand R. Curtis, Jr.

Elder Curtis is my mom's cousin, so my ears perked up just a bit more while he spoke during conference. (Find his talk here.) And I loved his talk, particularly the "stories of redemption" and the importance of helping others come to Christ. I'm thankful that my parents took that role in my life. I'm thankful for a heritage of pioneer ancestors. And I'm determined to do my best so that my children and grandchildren know that we can all be redeemed and return to live with our Heavenly Father because of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Here's my favorite quote from the talk - "Those who have strayed significantly from the paths of righteousness desperately need this redemption, and if they fully repent, it is theirs to claim. But those who have worked hard to live good lives also desperately need this redemption, for none can get to the presence of the Father without Christ's help."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

GCBC - Elder Ardern

General Conference Book Club
Elder Ian S. Ardern
"A Time to Prepare"

Find the talk here. Find others' comments here.

If I had to pick a favorite talk from this conference, this one would be a contender. The subject of time management has always fascinated me (especially since that was the subject of my mom's college thesis). I wrote a lot of notes as I listened, including:
  • Need to prioritize choices to match goals
  • Use time to serve others
  • Seek the Kingdom of God first
  • Busy needs to equal productive too
  • Identify time wasting activities and "grind them to dust"
  • Poor use of time is a close cousin to idleness
  • I can be the master of electronics, not their slave
  • What am I doing today to prepare to meet God?
  • Am I prepared to be happy with the accounting I will have to give?
"It is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father" (D&C 72:3-4).

I also wrote a note to look up a couple of quotes. Here's the one by Elder Quentin L. Cook: (in October 2003, "Are You a Saint?". You won't be disappointed if you decide to read the whole talk.)

"Saints who respond to the Savior’s message will not be led astray by distracting and destructive pursuits and will be prepared to make appropriate sacrifices. The importance of sacrifice to those who want to be Saints is exemplified by the atoning sacrifice of the Savior, which is at the center of the gospel. What a wonderful blessing it is to be a Latter-day Saint. I love the words in the last lines of the hymn “O Saints of Zion”:

O Saints of Zion, tread the paths
Your faithful fathers trod.
Lift up your hearts in gratitude
And serve the living God! "

So, it takes a bit of sacrifice to use our time wisely! And here's the one by President Ezra Taft Benson which helps us realize the sacrifice is worth it** (given in April 1988 general conference):

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives."

Just last night I made the comment that it's so hard to be productive when you're tired. Wayne said, "And you're just learning that now!?" No, I knew that, but after reading this talk again that morning, I was more aware of trying to be productive and using my time wisely. And I was tired and sleepy and it was difficult. So, I guess one of the lessons I need to learn when it comes to time management is making sure I get the proper amount of sleep! I'm looking forward to keeping Elder Ardern's counsel in mind as I prepare for the current holiday season and New Year's Resolutions.

**I wrote about this before. I like this quote!

Friday, December 2, 2011

GCBC - Elder Andersen

General Conference Book Club
Elder Neil A. Andersen

Elder Andersen started his talk with some VERY powerful statements:

As we look into the eyes of a child, we see a fellow son or daughter of God who stood with us in the premortal life. It is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for these spirit children of God. We believe in families, and we believe in children.

As I listened, I couldn't help but feel grateful that we kept this commandment to have children, and that now our children are doing the same. And I couldn't help but feel grateful that all the angst of "when and how many" is behind us! It is such a personal ("private and sacred") decision and I appreciated the repeated reminder to not judge others. I'm grateful that our challenges included wonderful children and not the lack of them. I hope I can always be suportive of those whose challenges are opposite.

Listening to this talk brought back memories of the faith it does take to have children. I love the stories he told. President Kimball's counsel (through conference talks and books - not in personal conversation!) had a huge impact in our decision making. I'm so grateful for prophets who can help us recognize and filter out the world's view and lead and guide us in the way of true happiness.
Yes, I believe in children.

Find the talk here. See what others have to say over at the GCBC here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gratitude Day Thirty-One

Moroni 10:3
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts."

There are actually only 30 days in November, but I couldn't decide which verse to omit, and, anyway, this one brings us full circle. Nephi challenges us to read the Book of Mormon looking for examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. Moroni ends the book with the same challenge. So, now as we officially begin the Christmas season, I hope we can all look for the mercies and miracles that are inherent in this special time of year. I hope that our hearts will be ever more grateful as we celebrate our Savior's birth all month long.